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Author Topic: AU: ACMA's High Power by "Poll Tax" ...comes with "Training Wheels"  (Read 25361 times)

Posts: 160

« on: April 06, 2013, 05:19:19 PM »

Australia's FCC-counterpart is:

- Australian Communications & Media Authority

Soon after Radio Amateurs in neighboring New Zealand
were authorized higher transmit power, ACMA -finally-
got the idea, that Australia's Hams should have similar

However, ACMA could not see itself to "trust" AU's Hams
to use high transmit power, ie, without "training wheels"
attached, in the form of a "trial" of unspecified duration
AFAIK), and without a clear indication of what might lead
ACMA to (someday, maybe) -include- that privilege into
at least the Advanced Class licensees' Conditions list.

By contrast, New Zealand's Radio Amateurs were deemed
to be sufficiently responsible & technically competent to
merit automatic granting of Higher Power privileges, ie,
en masse (presumably, if their license class was high

No trial period... but wait, there's another nuisance to
endure, only in Australia:

Perhaps to effectively -reduce- the number of AU Ham's
who would have the privilege to use the new Higher
Power transmit privilege, Australia's regulator required
an insulting Application to be in their "trial."

Adding cost to the undue insult of a "With Your Leave,
Your Highness" Application requirement...

Being "overcharged" AU$ 60 per year, by ACMA,
for their Amateur license alone (while US & CA's
hams enjoy Cost-Free licenses)...

Aussie Hams well & truly deserve at -least- some
improved additional value to be dropped into the

But no... it was not to be... Instead:

ACMA required any Advanced Class Ham, wanting
to "trial" the new higher power levels, to pay a
"Poll Tax" - in the form of an Application Fee -
to support an undue "make work" administrative
check - by ACMA - on each applying Ham...?

(Their more -trusted- mates, across the Tasman,
got High Transmit Power privileges as a cost-free
"Value-Add" to their license privileges.

I recently learned - via ABC's Radio National, or
a sibbling service - that NZ's colonial history was
"fairer" on one point:

The British in New Zealand negotiated -treaties-
with the land's indigenous peoples; there was
-not- imaginary "Terrus Nullus" myth in NZ, as
was used to justify pushing Australian aborig-
inees from their lands, as more settlers arrived
or moved across AU.

"Past is Prologue" - by which I mean to suggest
that New Zealand seems to have a Tradition of

If you doubt me, on this point, I would mention
& compare the ways NZ & AU treated earlier
waves of Asylum-seekers ("boat people" or
"queue-jumpers" in AU), in recent decades.

While NZ earned the respect of decent people
by settling their Asylums-seekers out in their
communities, where they could work & help
pay their ways, in what might become their
new country...

AU build costly "detention centers" with un-
friendly razor-wire fencing & undue restric-
tions on meetings between Aussies & their
Asylum-seeker arrivals... contracted with
foreign "prison operators" to run them... &
- later - watched reports of rampant suicide-
attempts, destruction of facilities, & children
growing up in psychologically-dangerous,
prison-like environments, eg, so that - in
then PM John Howard's words:

- "We [could] decide who will come to AU."

(I shudder when I recall -false- reports of
"children overboard" in AU's media, during
earlier, but still recent, periods in AU's
history... I'm sure many Aussies do, too.)

I feel these governments' "cultural" differ-
ences explain the contrasting actions of
AU's Amateur Radio regimes - over time -
in contrast to NZ's apparently more Amateur-
friendly radio communications regulators.

So, while -all- eligible New Zealand Amateurs
-now- enjoy High Transmit Power privileges,
if they choose to use them...

Last we heard, only 230 Australian Hams had
accepted ACMA's unduly -insulting- offer, ie,
to pay a "Poll-Tax" & complete a "May it Please
the ACMA" Application for "Training Wheels"
for High Transmit Power privileges, in the hope
that - someday - ACMA will have found some
reason to justify granting Australia's Hams the
same "Value-Add" that NZ's Amateurs got by
a stronger, friendlier Tradition of Fairness.

(Why haven't more of AU's Ham's applied...?

Perhaps the logic is: Let the "early adopters" open
the door for the, rest of us, to the Higher Transmit
Power privilege, assuming it might be added to ALL
Advanced Class license holders' privilege list.)

May such a Tradition "infiltrate" & "take-over"
ACMA & other departments of AU's Gov't soon,
so we in AU can begin to stand a little taller
as Radio Amateurs, rather than fearing that
our gov't is sufficiently unsupportive of our
Hobby & World Fraternity that it would rather
tax/charge & harass AU's part of it out of
existence, eg, by:

- treating Aussie Hams with prejudice, ie,
  instead of respect, eg, when belatedly up-
  dating Amateur license privileges, in light
  of more generous World Best practice;

- retaining excessive License fees & raising
  them all too frequently (in recent years);

- showing disdain to Radio Amateurs, eg,
  by permanently -halving- multi-million $
  License fees of -commercial- TV broad-
  casters, in the light of excessive Ham
  License fees (compared to cost-free US
  & - recently - Canadian Amateur fees);

- labeling elements of License fees unduly
   as taxes, thereby making them difficult
   to negotiate downward;

- reducing frequency allocations unduly;

- maintaining undue & leftover restrictions
  (eg, banning "auto-patches" & "phone-inter-
  connects," enacted long-ago to protect its
  telco monopoly, of that dark era);

"Past is Prologue" ...but only -until- we Hams
begin to "push-back" on undue fees, "make-
work" apply-for-trial nonsense, & insist that
AU's Radio Amateurs are afforded a World
Best Practice approach to privileges, and
not less.

Posts: 729

« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 06:46:41 AM »

Attempting to tie amateur license fees in Australia to immigration policy is strange, to say the least. 

Posts: 53


« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 02:33:42 PM »

Maybe I'm thinking peculiarly, but I think I'd be happy to pay $60/year for my license in exchange for essentially avoiding winter for the rest of my life.  Smiley

Posts: 111

« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 06:53:45 AM »

lets see, being an australian ham, I won't comment on the immigration laws here as this is a political arena and I did not become a ham
to discuss politics. now onto why personally I have not decided to apply for higher power being an advanced licence holder. well I don't feel
the need to operate with higher power, in fact I don't even own an amplifier, that's right. I only operate with 100 watts. why should I buy an amplifier and
another antenna tunner capable of more power when I have sufficient contacts awards and QSL cards with 100 watts? in fact really if I call CQ
with 100 watts in my mode of choice which is CW and no one answers after say 10 calls then one of two things are happening. either no one is on the band
or conditions are poor and I should try a different band. thus in closing I really don't care what they offer as in higher power and I think that all these ham radio
companies selling amplifiers are taking peoples hard earned money for not much in return, especially if your into CW, besides I quite find it fun and challenging
to dig up a CW call from out of the noise and get a 529 report back, if I didn't want a challenge I would just go on IRLP. 

Posts: 160

« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 05:06:46 PM »

UPDATE: In 2014, to renew an Australian amateur radio license cost AU $ 72.00 !!!

Posts: 820

« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 06:42:09 PM »

I suspect that a lot of this has to do with institutionalized racism in Oz and white Aussie oppression of Aborigines. Aborigines are more likely to live in remote areas where communication options are few. The thinking among AU govt officials may be that by denying ham licenses to Aborigines via poll taxes and such, the govt is preventing a rebellion by Aborigines. Never mind that Aborigines are too few to realistically spearhead a coup against Canberra. Australia has never really confronted institutional racism, unlike say the USA, and while the process in America was VERY painful the country is much better off having done so. We even have a black President now! During our Jim Crow era, blacks were kept from voting by poll taxes and "literacy" requirements, among other things. It sounds like AU is still mired in the past.
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